Monday, May 30, 2016

For The Glory

Last year was my first look at the Kinetic Sculpture race here in Humboldt County. I fell in love with it. Roger had been to quite a few here many years ago, in the 1970s. So, of course we had to walk into town Saturday morning to see the kinetic beasts as they lined up along the downtown plaza square getting ready to roar out of town.
It is quite a sight to see what people have constructed to make this three-day journey over land, roads, sand dunes, and water. And in the interest of having a great time, they plunge ahead with joy, great spirit, and absolute mirth.
The local newspaper article had this wonderful quote, "The day came replete with shouts of 'For the Glory!' saluting the late Ferndale artist Hobart Brown, the race’s 'Glorious Founder.' Brown’s inspiration demonstrates 'adults having fun so children will want to grow older.'”

We discovered this year that the race goes right past our street corner on their way out of town. So after we walked around the plaza we headed home for a snack and then back down the street to see them in action.

It is an utter delight to watch them pedal out of town. Smiling and laughing is simply contagious.

Last year we headed out to Eureka on the 2nd day of the race to watch the sculptures get ready for  their plunge into Humboldt Bay for the water part of the race. This year we decided to forgo the crowds there and the crazy intense winds off the bay. So, we watched the adventure live streaming on the computer. No, it's not the same at all, but still we were hooting and hollering and cheering right here in our living room. (The above photo is from the local newspaper. It shows the sculpture Tempus Fugitorium transformed and ready for the water. Interestingly, this is the newspaper's own team racing here!)
We did get to see Dragonass get into the water. It took them two tries, and it was amazing to watch them turn that beast around, head back up the ramp, turn around again and make their way out into the bay. Great teamwork and strength. I took a photo of the screen to share here.

The Kinetic Sculpture race is simply not to be missed. We were so inspired by it we dusted off and de-cob-webbed our bicycles on Sunday and went for a ride around the neighborhood. We love this race. For the glory!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Suddenly There Were Arcs!

I know I have mentioned over and over how bleak and dreary the skies have been here. For an atmospheric optic lover like myself, it has been downright miserable. I run out every morning hoping for at least a hint of something that sunlight has brought to the persistent cloud cover, and every morning it's just been BLAH...until Monday. Oh my, the sky was blue with a scattering of wispy clouds.

I saw this.

It's a upper tangent arc. It wasn't the best I had ever seen, but I was dancing for joy. Oh when an upper tangent arc makes your day, you know you're crazy hooked on optics. I went out back to put the chimney between me and the sun, so I could get a better look. That's when I noticed a parhelic circle shining by the sundog (to the left of the chimney by the corner of the house). Do you see it too? I'm sure it's there.

I looked higher in the sky and saw a supralateral arc that was much more visible to my eye than it was to the camera's lens. It was a faint faint circle high above the upper tangent with an even fainter hint of a circumzenithal arc. It was there. I saw it. I danced some more.

Here's a view I found on the internet that shows where these arcs can be found in the sky.  
 Pretty cool stuff. If I had a bucket list,  seeing a sky just like that would definitely be on it.

Later in the day I noticed a 22 degree halo in a rather blue blue sky. It surprised me, and I was glad that the day of atmospheric optics continued until the clouds blew back in from the coast. I can hardly wait until next time.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

date night

when we bought our house last year the seller’s agent gave us a gift certificate to a local restaurant. 7 months later we got around to using it. walked to town. had a wonderfully enjoyable meal and a pleasant walk home. we decided that it was a date night.

one of the two food markets, wildberries, we go to has a nice deli section. we get veggie eggrolls there. maybe two weeks ago we saw some prepared food that looked good, mainly risotto primavera, so we got a whole dinner’s worth of various goodies. as we ate our delicatessen food at home with our own music and wine we decided it was a date night. we just did it again.

our dinner selection. yes that is raw salmon. there was pricey cooked salmon. i cooked my own.

ready to nuke

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Out of Focus Goslings

Too far away to photograph, too cute not to.

Monday, May 16, 2016

It's been pretty quiet here with all the persistent cloudiness and cool temperatures. So, we celebrate the little things that come our way, like this pair of Bullock's Orioles that migrated from Mexico to spend their summers here. They seem to like hanging around our neighbor's vacant yard. I took these photos through our dining room window, so not the best, but their colors do shine through.

The male stays in the trees across the yard and farthest from our window.
The female likes the weeds and berry vines in the overgrown and neglected yard. I hope we get to see their successful offspring before they head south for winter.
We did get out to the local nursery to buy a lot of flowers starts for the front yard. It's been work getting the old grassy sod up, but Roger has been ripping it out, one flower bed at a time. We just started on this new heart-shaped one. The freshly planted flowers are Lobelias in cobalt, red, and white. Really looking forward to seeing these bloom. We also bought a six-pack of Sweet Williams (Dianthus) and Forget-me-nots (Myosotis) to plant in the center in honor of my father.
While we were at the nursery we went over to their koi pond. You could tell the fish are very accustomed to company, they swam right over probably looking for some food. I liked the view of the fish and the reflection. I thought it was an interesting perspective, like an abstract reality. Amazing what you can see at a nursery.

And, I want to thank you all so much for your birthday wishes. Your kind words and thoughtfulness  made the day celebratory and special for me. I really loved it, and I thank you.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Old woman photographing the old wharf in the rising fog
If you were ever a fan of the Beatles then you know what the title of this post means. Ah, yes, that gray-haired woman in the above photo is me, and I celebrate my 64th revolution around the sun today.
The old wharf in the rising fog
I always thought I’d feel older when I turned 64, but I pretty much feel the way I always have. My dreams haven’t changed much and neither has my outlook on life.
I still ridiculously hope for some cosmic awakening so that everyone will see that we humans are all one species on one beautiful whirling planet in space.
The stories of Gods and country borders are simply too old to be relevant anymore, and yet… and yet they persist.
I still believe we need to work together to spare the planet our endless appetites and protect species from our pretense of dominion.
I will always cherish the era I came of age in and am utterly grateful to have danced at Woodstock; built my own cabin when I was 22 years old; crossed the country by car more times than I can remember; even to have loved and lost, but to have also let myself to fall deeply in love again for the past 28 years.
I am happy to have come to know the names of flowers, butterflies, moths, lizards, and birds, and to have stumbled on my true love of photography and atmospheric optics-- all in the past decade. Once I turned my eyes on the world around me, I found out just how beautiful it all is, whether I'm looking up or down, near or far. In every direction is something that warrants appreciation.
The benefits of discovering the macro setting while the roses are in bloom
Getting old(er) has been interesting, and I intend to keep at it. And next year, if all goes as planned, I'll be eligible for Medicare. Ah, the perks of old age.

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

Monday, May 09, 2016


The weather has been bleak. No sunshine for a week, and low-laying clouds nearly down to the ground. I have often wondered about the amazing depth of clouds that they can seriously block something as powerful as the sun from shining through. I remember wondering years and years ago when I first started noticing atmospheric optics if such a sight was dependent upon particular elevation or location. I began to understand that they do actually happen everywhere, and I have photographed such sights in lots of skies in different places. BUT, the sun has to have a hand in it. For the most part no sun, no crazy rainbow halo iridescent arc of a lightshow. It has been bleak here.
So when the sun came out for five minutes the other day and a big cloud towered above the horizon, I ran out just to be reminded of a sky not shrouded in gray. I clicked a photo.
But then, a little hummer flew by to see what I was up to. Not really. It ignored me and went straight for this interesting plant just outside our fence in front of our house.
I turned my attention from the sky and focused on the hummingbird. It hung around getting what little nectar there could be from these barely opened buds.
It let me stand there, so close, and zoom in to get a good look at it. I liked how much the plant and hummingbird looked alike.

See what happens when the sun comes out. It's magic I tell you, pure magic!

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

True Story

You are not going to believe this, but it's absolutely true.

I've had my Lumix camera for probably a year and a half. Plenty of time to figure out its quirks and commands. My previous Lumix had a Macro focus feature on the dial with a little picture of a flower. I would just turn that little dial and be able to zoom in and focus on insects, flowers, all the little things of our little universe. The current Lumix does not have that feature on the dial. It has plenty of letters and little graphics for choices: P (programmable); A (aperture); S (shutter speed); M (manual exposure); a little camera and M (Creative Video). There are a few others, but you get the point, no little flower, no macro feature. So, I would try to get as close as I could with the camera set on the P dial and hope for a good close up photo of the little things.

Well, the other day, I was trying to figure something out with the camera and discovered another little button next to the little screen. It had these letters AF; AF with a little flower; and MF. Mmmm. I've always just had the camera set AF. When I clicked on to AF with the little flower graphic guess what I found? I could take close-up photos of flower petals and spiders. I couldn't believe I hadn't noticed the little (very little) flower graphic.

So, now I'm running outside to check on the jumping spiders that are everywhere and the roses blooming out by the fence. There hasn't been much in the way of atmospheric optics here lately, and most of our birds have headed north for breeding season. So it's just me and the little things. And, I am pretty happy about it!

Sunday, May 01, 2016


we haven’t done a garden report for a while. we have some success to report.
now that’s a broccoli. bigger than most stuff at the store. way bigger than we have ever grown in earlier gardens. hand shown for scale.

preharvest picture. we were amazed when we saw this peeking out from the giant leaves. we ate it. it was delicious.
our raised beds when new on february ninth. filled with nice dirt. imported dirt from our local landscape supply place. you can read more in our first garden report from this house.

 the same beds now, 81 days later, from the other direction. gardener added for scale.

rain drops on a broccoli leaf in the morning sun, one of the delights of a garden.